It seems to have been a case of one door closing and another opening for Jorge Lorenzo during the Czech Republic Grand Prix weekend, when HRC announced that it would not sign the talented young Spaniard - but a new avenue of interest opened at Ducati.

Rumours of Lorenzo switching from Fiat Yamaha - with whom he made his MotoGP debut in 2008 and has taken three wins, 14 podiums and eight poles - to Repsol Honda next season have circulated since round two in Japan.

It is hard to establish exactly how serious Lorenzo had considered an RCV move, but the comments by HRC president Tetsuo Suzuki at Brno seemed to end any chance of it happening in 2010.

"We spoke with Lorenzo, but we eventually concluded that Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso would be the best line-up for us and there are no plans to provide another bike to Lorenzo," said Mr Suzuki.

Perhaps HRC came to the conclusion, as had many in the paddock, that Lorenzo was now using Honda as a negotiating tool to reach a better arrangement with Yamaha.

Lorenzo has openly stated that the YZR-M1 is the best bike in MotoGP and that he is happy with his team, but appears to want more financial equality with team-mate and reigning six time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi.

According to Spanish sportspaper AS and Riders magazine, Rossi earns 14 million euros from Yamaha, compared with 2 million for Lorenzo. The new offer on the table from Yamaha is reportedly for 4 million.

Honda's public withdraw from negotiations with Lorenzo looked like bringing the uncertainty over the double 250cc world champion's MotoGP future to an end, with a new Yamaha contract looking like a formality.

However, Casey Stoner's withdraw from the next three rounds, and uncertainty over the Australian's MotoGP future as he battles a mystery energy-sapping illness, has prompted late interest in Lorenzo from Ducati.

Heavily dependent on Stoner for its MotoGP success - the top Ducati after Stoner is only 14th in the world championship - the Marlboro backed team is said to be prepared to offer Lorenzo between 6.5 and 8 million euros a year, for a two-year contract. To put that in perspective, Stoner's wage is reported as 3.8 million a year.

Lorenzo could either ride alongside Stoner next season, or replace him should the unthinkable happen and the Australian not be fit enough for the start of next season.

Having crashed out of the lead in Sunday's race, Lorenzo is now 50 points behind Rossi in the world championship, but remains 12 ahead of Stoner and 27 points ahead of Pedrosa with six rounds to go.


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